Albany is a port city located in the Great Southern region of Western Australia. It is the oldest permanently settled city in Western Australia, predating Perth (state capital, situated 418 km SE) and Fremantle by more than two years. In June 2015, the estimated urban population of Albany was 33,970 making it state's 6th-largest population centre, with a total area of 297 km2 (115 mi2).
The city centre lies at the northern end of Princess Royal Harbour (part of King George Sound). Albany's business district is bounded by Mount Melville to the west and Mount Clarence to the east. The city is part of the local government area of Albany City.
Albany was established on December 26, 1826, as New South Wales' military outpost, which was part of a plan to prevent the ambitions of France in the region. On January 21, 1827 the outpost's commander, Major Edmund Lockyer, took possession of the continent's western third for the British Crown.
Initially, the area was named Frederick Town to honour the Duke of York and Albany, Prince Frederick. The settlement was transferred to control of Swan River Colony in 1831 and renamed Albany by Sir James Stirling (Lieutenant-Governor, 1791-1865).
During the last decade of 19th century, the city of Albany was served as a gateway to Eastern Goldfields. It was the only deep-water port of the colony for many years, having a place of prominence on shipping services between the Australian colonies and Britain. The opening of Fremantle Inner Harbour of 1897 saw its importance as port decline, and after that Albany's industries turned to agriculture, timber and whaling.
Nowadays Albany is a major tourist destination as well as a base from which to explore state's south-west. The city is well regarded for its preservation of heritage and natural beauty.
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